A Utah man was sentenced yesterday to 20 years in prison followed by five years of supervised release for his bias-motivated attack of three men at a family-owned business.
On Feb. 19, 2020, after a five day trial, a jury in Salt Lake City convicted Alan Covington for attacking three men with a metal pole because he believed the men were Mexican.
According to evidence presented at trial, on Nov. 27, 2018, Covington, armed with a metal pole and hatchet, entered a family-owned tire shop, Lopez Tires. Upon entering the shop, the defendant demanded to know if the men were Mexican. According to testimony at trial, the defendant shouted that he wanted to “Kill Mexicans” and then began swinging the metal pole at the business owner, his brother, and teenage son. Covington hit the teenage son with the metal pole, taking him to the ground and causing serious physical injury to his face. Covington continued his attack striking the father multiple times in the back and eventually turned his attack on the business owner’s brother, who was able to escape without injury and report the matter to police. Covington was apprehended by police near the tire shop, with a metal pole and a hatchet in his possession.
“This defendant brutally assaulted a family and attempted to kill a young man because he believed they were Mexican,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “Such bias-motivated violence is fundamentally at odds with our most deeply held values. The Justice Department will continue to aggressively pursue and bring to justice those who commit such acts.”
“This was a horrific act of hate-motivated violence and there is no place for it in our state or country,” said U.S Attorney Trina A. Higgins for the District of Utah. “These victims are part of our community, and no one should ever have to fear for their safety because of their race or nationality. With Covington now behind bars, we hope the victims and their families can find peace and heal from this unspeakable act of hate.”
“We hope the sentencing provides some measure of justice for the victims, whose lives will never be the same because of Mr. Covington’s heinous actions,” said Special Agent in Charge Shohini Sinha of the FBI Salt Lake City Field Office. “Our country is rich in diversity and violence motivated by hate – like all violence – has no place here. The FBI will vigorously defend the civil rights of all in the communities we serve.”
Assistant Attorney General Clarke, U.S. Attorney Higgins and Special Agent in Charge Sinha made the announcement.
The FBI Salt Lake City Field Office investigated the case, with the cooperation of the Salt Lake City Police Department.
Assistant U.S. Attorney J. Drew Yeates for the District of Utah and Deputy Chief Rose Gibson of the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section prosecuted the case.